Thursday, March 25, 2010

Perfectionist to the very Core

Unfortunately, yes, it is true.  I will admit with candor.

One thing about being a flawed human being, we can all relate to each others faults and mistakes, can we not?  Not to get down-in-the-mouth about being flawed (for all humans are), but it is true. 

Perfectionism: "the quality or state of being perfect; gaining the highest degree of excellence."

Ow.  That stung.  Are you wincing just a little?  Yeah, your little conscience buddy is telling you that nothing can achieve perfection.  Dratted little bug.  Always ruining good ideas.

Being a perfectionist is two-sided: either you try to do everything perfectly (unsuccessfully), or you can use that desire to do everything to the best of your ability which God has given you, knowing that nothing can be perfect.

I will confess that I, more times than not, practice the former.  Everything has to be perfect.

Pimples pop out on my face: HORROR.  I live in a nightmare.  No one look at me!  I have pimples, so I'm imperfect. (hmm, truth.)

I am not an accomplished musician: playing my violin, I know I don't do everything right (having taught myself); therefore I grow gloomy and depressed because I'm imperfect and can't do anything right. (hmm, truth.)

I look at myself in a mirror or picture (or even worse, a video) and scrutinize every detail.  Oh.  Cringing, I grow morose and crotchety because I am imperfect and flawed. (hmm, truth)

I wake up one fine morning, and determine to get along better with my siblings, give more honor to my parents, be more helpful around the house, do everything without being told, study diligently, think before I speak, care more for the feelings of others, and be more useful in my time. (sounds impossible, I know, but I don't fully realize that on a bright morning when I am in such a good mood!)  Then, when I fail, I become pessimistic and crestfallen because I am imperfect and human. (hmm, more truth!)

How zany am I?

As human beings, we cannot achieve perfection.  As the Bible says, all our righteousness is as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)  We have no right whatsoever to think we are something in this crooked world.  Well, we can think of ourselves as fallen and depraved sinners, but nobody wants to admit that.

"For if any man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself."  ~Galatians 6:3

"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God."  ~2 Corinthians 3:5

All human beings are perfectionists in some way or form.  We don't want to admit our sin.  We will all claim our own goodness, according to Proverbs 20:6.  

Just what is sin?

"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."  ~1 John 3:4

"The law" being talked about here is the Bible, God's law to mankind.  Whosoever disobeys said law, even one commandment that God has given, is guilty of sin.  Let me ask you something: have you ever stole, lied, cheated, taken the Lord's name in vain, been disobedient to your parents, envied/coveted? (just to name a few)  Of course everyone has sinned.  We were all born with depravity.  No one is perfect, only Jesus Christ.

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."  ~1 John 1:8

We have no right whatsoever to glory in ourselves.  Our chests may puff out with pride at our many amazing accomplishments, but they are all really nothing.  Paul said the cross was the only thing he could glory in, and rightly so. (Galatians 6:14)  Our boasting is in vain unless we boast of Christ and the work He has done.  For it is He which worketh in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

We can accomplish nothing of ourselves.  It is Christ who works in us.  If we are His child, the Holy Spirit dwells in us.  However, that does not mean we automatically become sinless, nor does God's grace give us a license to sin. (Romans 6)  We will still be human (and all which that entails) but the new man is to take dominion over the old one.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."  ~2 Corinthians 5:17

Christians can never be perfect until the day we enter into heaven to live gloriously with the King of kings.  Then will our bodies be perfect, then will our robes be white, and then will we praise and glorify God forever and ever.  No more death, nor tears, nor pain, nor sorrow, nor any vile, wicked thing will come to pass.  

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."  ~Revelation 21:4

Yes, we are all perfectionists.  How will you use that?  For good, or for evil?  Will you become full of woe, or zeal for the kingdom of Christ?

Remember, we all fail.  We are never on sure ground unless upon the Solid Rock.

"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."  ~1 Corinthians 10:12

But, we do have assurance in Christ.  We may not be a luminary who is known for good works; but we can do all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

What kind of a perfectionist are you?


Anonymous said...

Great post! I am perfectionist to the core and this really spoke to me. I was a strong-willed kid growing up and I remember when I was 10 I wrote down my life goals, one of which was to use my strong will for good. I guess I never thought perfectionism could be used for good too! But I suppose God can use any negative character trait and use it for good!

Rachel said...

Thank you, Katie! Yes, I've only realized such myself recently. God in all His power CAN use any of our weaknesses for good, which is positively amazing!

Thank you for stopping by! :)